Waters & Rangel

Democrats got more bad news on the ethics front in the U.S. House on Monday, as the Ethics Committee laid the groundwork for another public trial involving a black Democrat in Congress.

The latest lawmaker to get in public hot water is Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), who has been accused of improperly aiding a minority bank in which her husband had substantial investments.

"I have not violated any House rules," Waters said flatly in a written statement issued by her office.
 
"Therefore, I simply will not be forced to admit to something I did not do and instead have chosen to respond to charges made by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct in a public hearing."

That would be the second public ethics hearing, along with the one requested by Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY).

Unlike the Rangel case, the ethics panel did not release a "Statement of Allegations" laying out the specific charges against Waters.

Later in the day, there was a leak to uber-ethics reporter Larry Margasak of the Associated Press, who wrote that Waters is charged with violating a "rule that House members may not exert improper influence that results in a personal benefit,"  and two other charges on accepting favors and conduct reflecting badly on the House.

(Margasak is so clued-in on these stories, that last week when the Rangel story was breaking, one of my colleagues suggested that we just stand next to Margasak for the next hour to make sure we didn't miss anything.)

It isn't clear when either the Rangel or Waters trial might begin, but given that some of the same lawmakers have been tasked to hear both cases, they probably won't run simultaneously.

And that means an even longer process for Democrats to deal with, which pushes it closer and closer to Election Day 2010..

One thing is for sure, it could be entertaining TV.  Both Rangel and Waters seem unlikely to disappoint in such a public show.

You can read the 80 page investigative report about the Waters case at http://is.gd/dYK6t Democrats got more bad news on the ethics front in the U.S. House on Monday, as the Ethics Committee laid the groundwork for another public trial involving a black Democrat in Congress. The latest lawmaker to get in public hot water is Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), who has been accused ...